Warriors and Titans poised for crunch clash


Warriors interim coach Rivash Gobind is pleased with their Sunfoil Series position heading into round eight against the log-leading Titans in East London from Thursday.

This despite the hosts losing their last game against the Dolphins in Port Elizabeth, a result that has left them third on the table with three matches of the campaign remaining.

It was their second match after the limited-overs season, with the Eastern Cape franchise winning the first one against the Highveld Lions giving them a one win-one loss ratio in four-day cricket since the turn of the year

Gobind says he will take that as it leaves them handily placed in third on 92,78 points, less than 12 behind the leaders (104,34).

“At the start of the five games we felt we were in a good position and I still feel we’re in a very good position after playing two of those five games,” the Warriors coach said. “We’re playing the league leaders, so it’s a hugely important game for us and we recognise that.

“They’re top of the table and have shown over a number of seasons why they are so good, so it’s going to be tough.”

Gobind has also predicted that the season will go down to round 10 before the champions will be decided, although victory at Buffalo Park will go a long way towards strengthening their prospects.

“It’s probably going to go right down to the wire,” he added. “All the teams are evenly matched, so with three rounds to go there’s no doubt it’s going to be an exciting end to the season.

“Obviously whoever wins this game between us and the Titans are going to put themselves in a great position going into the last two games.”

Both the wins in the second round have been produced on Warriors turf and Titans coach Mark Boucher knows that it is a game that could go a long way towards deciding the outcome of a competition that has seen only three wins in 21 matches in 2017/18.

“That’s the positive that there have been results there,” he said. “But they haven’t been playing badly, so we’ll have to be prepared. We’re not looking at them, though, all the focus is on us and what we need to do.”

And despite the finish line almost within sight, Boucher believes it is important for his players not to look too far ahead of the round eight tie.

“There’s still three games to go and we’ve had a chat about this being the start of the chance to win another trophy,” he concluded. “But we’re going to look at the situation one game at a time.

“For now it’s all about day one to try and set up something. There’s no looking beyond that.”

The Warriors squad is: Jon-Jon Smuts (capt), Gihahn Cloete, Eddie Moore, Yaseen Vallie, Colin Ackermann, Lesiba Ngoepe, Clyde Fortuin, Andrew Birch, Ayabulela Gqamane, Anrich Nortje, Lutho Sipamla, Simon Harmer, Tladi Bokako.

The Titans squad is: Farhaan Behardien (capt), Andrea Agathangelou, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, Tony de Zorzi, Eldred Hawken, Heino Kuhn, Rivaldo Moonsamy, Chris Morris, Tabraiz Shamsi, Malusi Siboto, Shaun von Berg.